Any experience with the InReach Explorer?

#1
I found them on sale for under $300 and am considering getting one. I won't lie, the main draw is being able to sent communicate (text message) through the satellite, and when I go out exploring, it's mostly either just me or me and the kids. I found a review of the InReach SE, but it was 2 years ago.
 
#2
I have used one extensively! I communicate with family on it when out of area and I even take it mountain biking with me now due to lack of service on 99% my rides and always on hikes.
Recently Garmin purchased Delorme and the changes to mapping have been astounding. Now you have access to download (relatively quickly) Usgs quad maps. When driving it's mounted to my dash using a clip device whose name escapes me, but hard Velcro to that. I have it paired with a tablet whose sole purpose is navigating and Ham repeater info. Now that garmin provides topo free with inreach subscription Gaia and other apps are obsolete to me. Yet I keep it as back up. (Submarine navigation mentality) when I want to send a text to a saved contact I can do it on the tablet (parents, emergency contacts). Anyone else I just connect via Bluetooth to my phone and text from there. The inreach as I use it is a repeater and gps antenna.
Battery life is GREAT! AND, Because it provides a position source to the tablet via Bluetooth, the tablet does not need to have gps energized in turn great extending battery life of the tablet. Prior to garmin the maps were unusable, and I would have to use the built in tablet gps which the 12v charger couldn't keep up with. Now, the tablet will fully charge with no issues!

The only downside to navigating with it is the inability to leave a continuous position history, 10 intervals is the lowest but that will cost you a higher subscription fee. I don't think you can create waypoints either. If the app were made with more navigating functions it would be 100%.

All in all it is a great system and provide peace of mind for single vehicle trips!

Never rely on one safety line though! Ham radio and paper maps (land charts) will never be outdone!
 

Dean

Adventurist
Founding Member
#4
I'm an inReach Ambassador. I really love it. One of the reasons I reached out to DeLorme was because it's a 3-in-1 device. It's navigation, SOS, and 2-way communication all in one. There are a lot of other devices out there that do one or two of those jobs, but not all three and not as well as the inReach (in my opinion). The only real downside is paying for the SOS/data subscription. That said, you can pay for as little as one month at a time. So right now my account is dormant but the device still works for navigation, just no SOS or sat-coms. When I get ready for a trip I just reactivate my account and pay for the month or two that I'll be traveling. The key feature for me was being able to text family/friends while I travel. Also nice being able to update social media for people that follow along on my adventures. It's also nice knowing the SOS feature is two-way and you can communicate the nature of your emergency rather than just a "send in the cavalry" button which can be very expensive. You can, for piece of mind, also get "send in the cavalry" insurance added to your plan just in case the shit hits the fan.

If you have more specific questions, let me know. I've used mine on all my trips this year. The only thing I never figured out was the weather feature. Looking forward to using that next year.
 
#5
Thanks for the info everyone. Since I intend to tether InReach to my tablet via blue-tooth, should I just go with the SE? Or are the extra options of the Explorer worth the cost?
 
#10
What's the difference in models? SE? Explorer?
From what I can tell, the Explorer offers stand alone GPS option, the SE needs to be tethered to a phone/tablet/etc. I ended up ordering the SE as it will always be mounted in my vehicle, and the from what I have read, the screen size makes things hard to see and actual GPS tracking isn't very good. They are both on sale at Cabelas right now for $289 (Explorer) and $229 (SE).

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/gps-handheld-accessories/_/N-1102702/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_105682680
 

Cboyd

Adventurist
#11
From what I can tell, the Explorer offers stand alone GPS option, the SE needs to be tethered to a phone/tablet/etc. I ended up ordering the SE as it will always be mounted in my vehicle, and the from what I have read, the screen size makes things hard to see and actual GPS tracking isn't very good. They are both on sale at Cabelas right now for $289 (Explorer) and $229 (SE).

http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/gps-handheld-accessories/_/N-1102702/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_105682680
From the inReach documentation, the SE can do satellite comms from the unit, but cannot do navigation to waypoints on the handheld unit. You need the tablet or smartphone for mapping and navigation.

I have the older inReach unit which must have a smartphone or tablet for most functions to work other than canned messages. These explorer options (yellow or orange) can do simple texting and canned messages from the screen. My older unit option also had a quirky power situation and used batteries. The explorer units have a powered dock which is much better.

The main advantage I see (and plan to upgrade) to the full explorer option (orange) is the ability to use it out of the vehicle as a handheld GPS and not require the smartphone at all.
 
#12
From the inReach documentation, the SE can do satellite comms from the unit, but cannot do navigation to waypoints on the handheld unit. You need the tablet or smartphone for mapping and navigation.

I have the older inReach unit which must have a smartphone or tablet for most functions to work other than canned messages. These explorer options (yellow or orange) can do simple texting and canned messages from the screen. My older unit option also had a quirky power situation and used batteries. The explorer units have a powered dock which is much better.

The main advantage I see (and plan to upgrade) to the full explorer option (orange) is the ability to use it out of the vehicle as a handheld GPS and not require the smartphone at all.

Yep. That is why I went with the SE. I have a few other hand held GPS units that will work fine when hiking. The main draw of this for me was the communication options.
 

Dean

Adventurist
Founding Member
#13
What's the difference in models? SE? Explorer?
My two-cents is the SE is good for using the inReach in the vehicle tethered to a tablet/laptop/phone. The Explorer is good for someone who wants to also use it as a stand-alone navigation device (hiking, boating, hunting, etc) and wants more flexibility to edit tracks, waypoints, and what-not in the device without having to use a tablet/laptop/phone.

While the SE is a more than capable device for the extra $80 investment I'd just get the Explorer. It will amortize itself really quickly once you learn the device and incorporate it into your routines. For instance, my SOP is to use the Ram mount to house the inReach while I drive. As soon as I get out go for a hike I grab the inReach and go. 99.9% of the time my inReach is always within arms reach. If it's not on my dash or on my belt it's in my bag.

I kinda wish they'd bring back the older inReach. It was a lot smaller and had no screen. Would be prefect to teacher to a device without the added costs of the screen and extra buttons.
 

Cboyd

Adventurist
#14
That's the unit I have and the only drawback is the power situation. The power cord was really buggy and made it non-waterproof. So it lives on lithium AAs. It also paired to only one device at a time so if the tablet goes out, it was risky to re-pair it in the field with, say an iPhone if it was mission-critical.

I agree with your thinking and it needs to be arms reach and tether free when necessary.
 

Doug

Adventurist
Senior Staff
Founding Member
#15
I was about to buy one when Garmin bought Delorme. I stopped to wait for a new unit that combines Garmin's GPS device (4" screen) with the InReach capabilities. It has to be coming, right?
 
#17
I picked up mine two years ago at the west Expo and I absolutely love it. It has helped me bypass and get through some white knuckle experiences and rocky roads with no markings in total No Man's Land. I blue tooth it to my IPad Pro 9.7 on a Ram Mount in the truck.
Another great aspect is you can suspend your subscription for as long as needed until your next big trip. I keep mine at around $14 per month. you can upgrade for weather alerts and more messages, but while I'm near home or doing short "local" trips I keep it at a minimum setting.
 
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